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Elvis crypt withdrawn from US auction

LOS ANGELES-- The crypt in which Elvis Presley was first buried has been withdrawn from a huge auction of sports and music memorabilia in Los Angeles following virulent protests from the King's fans.

The crypt — in which Presley was buried in 1997 before being moved to his final resting place at his Graceland mansion in Memphis — was to be one of nearly 1,000 items belonging to sports and music icons on offer at the weekend.

But Julien's Auctions said it had put a stop to the crypt sale until the Forest Hill Cemetery in Memphis “finds a plan that best suits the interests of the fans while respecting and preserving the memory of Elvis Presley.”

“YES WE DID IT!!” read the website ElvisMatters.com, which organized the effort to halt the sale. “We have just proven that fans can stand united!

“With the effort of ElvisMatters, the help of fan clubs all over the world and the support of over 10,000 fans who signed our petition, the crypt will remain empty — as it should!”

Since Presley's remains were moved to Graceland, the crypt has remained vacant.

Fans were able to snap up dozens of other items belonging to the King at the two-day auction ending Sunday, including his personal telephone, sold for US$20,480, and a 14-carat gold necklace with the initials “EP,” sold for US$31,250.

The orange-trimmed robe worn by soul singer Amy Winehouse — who died last year at age 27 — in her 2006 breakout video “Rehab” sold for US$34,375. A black and pink negligee worn by Madonna on her 1990 tour earned the same amount.

A black and white silk ensemble worn by Lady Gaga sold for US$28,125, while a pair of Michael Jackson's tap shoes went for US$5,760.

Other items belonging to the late Frank Sinatra and Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, as well as Rolling Stones and Doors memorabilia, also went under the hammer.

On the sports side, a pair of signed Air Jordan XI Concord sneakers worn by the basketball legend Michael Jordan during the 1995-96 NBA season sold for US$10,240.

New York Yankees great Mickey Mantle's rookie season baseball card sold for US$6,875, while a dollar bill signed by Babe Ruth went for US$3,437.50.

Multiple items signed by boxing legend Muhammad Ali earned thousands of dollars.

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